Shift was published in the UK on April 24th and is a fast-paced, exciting debut novel from British author Jeff Povey. You can read my review here, and here's a synopsis of the book:
Get ready for one apocalyptic detention. These misfits are going to save the world! Meet Rev, Billie, the Ape, Johnson, GG, Carrie, the Moth and Lucas, a motley crew of bickering teens who find themselves totally alone in the world after a strange power surge hits their classroom during detention. With no answers as to why or how the rest of the world has disappeared, the mismatched group is soon facing a bigger nightmare than they could ever imagine… Standing between them and the only way home are lethal duplicate versions of themselves, super powered teenagers who will kill anyone who gets in their way. Our unlikely heroes must somehow work together to save themselves… or they'll never see home again.
Thanks to Jeff for the following post - I hope you enjoy reading it, and don't forget to follow him on Twitter. I'll now hand over to Jeff and his favourite books - yay for Enid Blyton!
MY BOOK READING HABITS
by Jeff Povey
Like everyone I’ve got eclectic taste but find that I get obsessed with an author and then read everything I can of theirs. It’s not so much the genre but the writer. As soon as I find one or one is recommended to me then that’s it, I know I’m going to be very happy.
When I was much younger I came across Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, they were the first books I can really remember reading voraciously. There was also an Adventure series and a Secret Seven series. I mention these because, with a tenuous nod to Lord of the Flies, they’re clearly books that left some sort of imprint on me. Shift is about eight teenagers going on an adventure (well sort of…) and I did wonder if they’ve left a more lasting impression than I realised. I know it really doesn’t sound cool to say Enid Blyton may have inspired me but when I was a kid I loved those books!
My all-time favourite authors are Ed McBain, Lawrence Block and Elmore Leonard. I read every McBain novel in one summer. It was about sixty books and if you read them chronologically (1950s to 2005) you will see the world and America especially changing before your eyes. I learned so much from them. I love that they write so economically and yet somehow you still get the whole picture. It’s not even that they’re crime writers, it’s just that they write with a style that I admire wholeheartedly. Elmore Leonard has 10 Tips on writing and they are really worth reading. “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it” and “Don’t write the bits that readers tend to skip” are two pieces of advice that would help anyone.
I love thrillers, sci-fi and the slightly out of the ordinary fiction but I also do have guilty pleasures like Lee Child and his Jack Reacher series. That series is all down to one character; I can barely remember the stories but I know everything about Jack Reacher. Kate Atkinson has a style that I could read all day long. She also writes characters that I can’t get enough of. For me, it’s always the character. Most stories have been told a million times over but when it involves a character you love it becomes a fresh and inspired imagining.
Sometimes I’ve been asked to adapt novels for TV or film and it’s strange because books I thought I wouldn’t like turned out to be really compelling page turners. I suddenly understood what made the likes of Jilly Cooper and Martina Cole so popular. They are supreme storytellers who know how to write a page turner with the very best of them and it made me feel utterly foolish for ignoring them. I am now onto the Jane Austen collection because I have reached an age where I need to know what all the fuss is about. And I can clearly see now.
Obviously you can’t mention every book you’ve ever read but I have certain books that I re-read every now and then. They are favourites for many reasons but mainly because they captivated me more than any other. Our Lady of the Flowers by Jean Genet; Farewell My Lovely by Raymond Chandler; Eternity Road by Jack McDevitt; The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway; No One Here Gets Out Alive, Jim Morrison’s biography. I’d save these from any fire.
Finally my absolute guiltiest pleasure is zombie novels. World War Z is the finest of its kind but I have read many, many zombie apocalypses (Rhiannon Frater; Alden Bell; Peter Clines; Mira Grant – to name but a few authors). I revel in post-apocalyptic fiction – both literary and cinematic – and love it when the world gets tipped on its head. All the rules change, life stops being about paying the mortgage and surfing the internet and reverts to the real necessity of life: which is the need to stay alive. It becomes the ultimate governing motivation and when you shed all the excesses of modern living you should be left with characters who are at their rawest and most vulnerable – and therefore at their most compelling.